Kelly Buikus just concluded her fourth season as the Head Coach of the UC Women's Lacrosse program after being hired as the program’s inaugural coach in 2016. Over her first four seasons at the helm, she has guided the Patriots to a 51-20 mark, with three straight winning season and two appearance in the NAIA National Invitational. While at UC, Coach Buikus has coached 13 NAIA All-Americans, 26 MSC/AAC all-conference selections, one NAIA Player of the Year, two AAC Players of the Year, a three conference Freshman of the Year and had 20 student-athletes earn academic all-conference honors. In addition to that, Buikus is an active member at the both the conference and national level serving on numerous committees.
The Patriots are coming off a 16-4 season in 2019 where UC captured a share of the inaugural Mid-South Conference regular season title before winning the first Mid-South Conference tournament championship and clinching their second straight trip to the NAIA National Invitational. Cumberlands defeated Reinhardt in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals of the tournament. UC recorded 11 wins over teams that were either ranked or receiving votes at the time of the game. In addition to that the Patriots had six NAIA All-Americans, eight MSC All-Conference selections, two Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athletes, and eight Academic All-Conference selections.
In 2018, the Patriots posted their best season in program history, setting program records for wins (20), most wins against ranked opponent (10), highest ranking in program history (second) and two wins against NAIA top-five ranked opponents. In addition to that, Buikus guided UC to its first AAC regular season and tournament title as well as their first appearance in the NAIA Women’s Lacrosse Invitational Championships. The Patriots had nine all-conference selections, the AAC Player of the Year as well as the AAC Freshman of the Year, and the NAIA Player of the Year. Coach Buikus was also named the AAC Coach of the Year.
In 2017, the Patriots posted an 11-6 record, almost tripling their win total from the first season. Cumberlands notched its first ten win season, including the programs first win over a ranked opponent an 11-10 win over eighth-ranked Columbia on March 18th. UC qualified for the AAC tournament for the first time in program history and were ranked in the NAIA Coaches’ Poll, being ranked as high as eighth. Cumberlands placed seven on the AAC all-conference team, including Samantha Tullar who was named the AAC Player of the Year as AAC Freshman of the Year. The Patriots also had its first NAIA All-Americans as Tullar and Becan Hennighan were both named to the First Team.
In her first season at UC, Buikus led the Patriots to a 4-8 record. The first win in program history came in an 11-6 win over Pikeville on February 19, 2016. Cumberlands posted a 3-5 conference record and had two players earn all-conference recognition.
Prior to UC, Coach Buikus coached at Ave Maria University where she built the lacrosse program and brought the squad from club to varsity status. In 2015, Buikus led the young squad to a 3-10 regular season record playing NAIA schools, NCAA D-II, and NCAA D-III opponents. Six of her players were named All-South Region, while two of her players were named NWLL Honorable Mention All-Americans. One player received Academic All-American honors as well. Buikus also served on the NWLL Selection Committee, as well as the awards committee.
Buikus started her coaching career in 2009 as a volunteer assistant coach for the lacrosse program at the University of Saint Joseph before accepting a graduate assistant coaching position for the women’s lacrosse team at Hood College in Frederick, Maryland. In 2009, she moved to Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, where she served as the head coach for lacrosse as well as carrying the duties as the Assistant Athletic Director. She also served as a NEAC conference chair and was on the ECAC voting committee. She coached five all-conference players and the team was named all-academic by the IWLCA in both seasons of her tenure. In 2012, Buikus was named the coach at Converse College, where she doubled the wins from the previous season and had two all-conference players in Conference Carolinas.
Buikus is in her fourth season as a coach of the Smoky Mountain Shine regional lacrosse club team.
Buikus graduated from the University of Saint Joseph (USJ) with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology.